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The Typical Residential

Real Estate Sales Transaction:

An Overview for Buyers and Sellers  

NOTE:  This article is intended to be a brief summary of law only, parts of which may or MAY NOT be applicable to your situation and/or your local jurisdiction(s).  Any information you glean from this article DOES NOT constitute legal advice and should be supplemented with the advice of an attorney licensed to practice law in your locality.

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Although, unlike the real estate contract, the deed to a parcel of real estate does not require the grantee’s (e.g., Buyer’s) signature in order to effectuate a valid transfer of title to the property, a deed does need to be properly delivered to the grantee. Fortunately, in the typical situation, fulfilling this requirement is a no-brainer and no conspicuously legalistic formalities are needed: the deed is simply transferred by way of the Seller handing it to the Buyer at the Closing! [But, of course, if things were always that simple, there wouldn’t be any need for attorneys!]

b.            Affidavit of Title. This important document provides added protection to the Buyer by requiring the Seller to explicitly state on paper several guarantees regarding the viability of the title he/she is purporting to convey to the Buyer.

c.             American Land Title Association (ALTA) Statement. Not unlike the Affidavit of Title, the ALTA statement contains representations regarding the status of the property’s title (e.g., the lack of easements and other encumbrances, the lack of any other claims to possession or lien on the property). However, unlike the Affidavit of Title the ALTA statement is agreed to and signed by both the Buyer and the Seller for the purpose of obtaining the Buyer’s title insurance policy. The ALTA statement is thus typically reviewed and signed by both parties at the Closing.

NOTE: Again, the foregoing list is not comprehensive. Rather, it simply outlines some of the most important items involved in a typical real estate transaction and/or some of those items that most frequently surprise and/or cause grief for Buyers and Sellers of residential real estate. Your attorney should explain these and other important documents to you in further detail.


See Also:

Common Law Vs.
Civil Law

The Statute of Frauds

Doctrine of Equitable

in this document:

Preliminary Matters


The Role
of the Attorney


Hiring a Real Estate


Real Estate Seller’s Agent

Real Estate Buyer’s Agent

Real Estate Broker


Negotiating the
Real Estate Contract

‘For Sale By Owner’

Deciding Key Terms


Pre-Closing Matters


Mortgage Issues


The Closing

The Deed

Affidavit of Title
ALTA Statement

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If you would like further information about this topic, or would like to request attorney services for the writing, negotiation or closing of a real estate contract, click here to contact us today.

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* Licensed to practice law in New York and Illinois.

© Roger Galer, 2004

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